Major find at Maryport dig site ‘could change history’
Last updated at 20:00, Thursday, 19 July 2012
An amazing find at Maryport’s Roman dig site could rewrite the history of the town.
A Christian cemetery dating back to the Dark Ages has been unexpectedly found on Camp Farm.
The dig hoped to uncover more of the town’s Roman past, but instead has uncovered evidence of grave sites from between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.
Two graves have been found and at least two more possible graves identified.
Human remains, including fragments of bone and three teeth, were found in one of the graves.
They appear to be what are known as ‘long kist’ burial plots, similar to those found in parts of Scotland. One, at least, was lined with stone slabs.
Experts said the find was of national significance and could play a valuable part in providing clues to life following the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and the time before the Anglo Saxons.
Prof Ian Haynes, project director, said: “This is a fantastic result for the team.
“Before now, finds from the vicinity have suggested that Maryport was an important place in the late Roman and post-Roman periods but this is the first substantial evidence to illuminate the character of settlement here during that time.”
It also means that the foundations of what appears to be a large building, discovered last year, could be a Christian church or similar.
Tony Wilmott, site director, said it was too early to say whether it was a Christian temple but it could be more likely now.
Mr Wilmott added that it was not until about the fourth century that burial began, and that was associated with Christianity.
The Senhouse Roman Museum Trust has funded three years of excavation at Camp Farm which is being carried out in conjunction with Newcastle University.
Jane Laskey, Senhouse Roman Museum curator, said the find emphasised the need to keep searching.
Museum trust chairman Peter Greggains said: “It is fascinating and so very exciting for the archaeologists, for the museum and for Maryport.”
The trust has committed £400,000 towards a five-year excavation programme at Camp Farm.
First published at 19:20, Thursday, 19 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
How exciting it is to actually find these remains, when I read this I could not stop giggling with excitement. It is time the Colster started to help out up there, get for more excitemtn when I get the trowel and brush out
Amazing . We used to have fights after school on the "Rec " ground alongside this excavation in the 1960s after school at Camp Road . If only we could have channeled our energy into more productive activities had we known what treasures lay nearly underfoot !